The alleged incident, which neighbors say was witnessed by at least one child, happened last month at a social housing complex in the South Island and followed what neighbors claim to have been a terrifying 18-month campaign of racial harassment and abuse.
The woman, in her 20s, is now facing charges and warrants for her arrest have been issued.
Neighbors say she was moved to temporary accommodation following multiple calls from the police and complaints about her behavior from housemates who say they feared for the lives of their families.
One of those neighbours, Pam*, has lived in the 11-unit complex for more than two years with her partner and daughter.
She claimed the woman constantly targeted her family with racially offensive taunts, foul language and violent threats.
Pam said her daughter witnessed the alleged October 2 knife incident and was traumatized by what she described as the woman’s many scary episodes.
The girl was too scared to sleep alone, needing her mother to sleep with her.
Pam said she was also deeply affected by the actions of the women. She said she had developed post-traumatic stress disorder, had difficulty sleeping and was receiving counseling.
She said another neighbor fractured his ribs after he was attacked with a piece of wood by the woman and her then-partner last year.
The New Zealand Herald understands that the man repeatedly complained about the woman to Kāinga Ora’s rental managers before he was eventually moved out of the resort to escape the situation.
Pam said police responded to numerous 111 calls about the woman’s behavior and firefighters were called when she started large fires in her yard fueled by rubbish.
Photos of the woman’s unit show it littered with clothing, trash and debris, with holes in the walls and scrawled messages about the property.
Pam said she repeatedly complained to Kāinga Ora, urging officials to take action.
In an October 3 email, Pam claimed the woman “used weapons [shovel, long bladed knife and aggressive dog] threaten my life, that of my partner and my children”.
“My 11-year-old daughter is extremely traumatized and, like other tenants in this complex, we live in fear.
“None of us should have to live this way.”
The email warned her that she believed the matter required “urgent action”.
An email sent to another hiring manager the evening before detailed what Pam described as violent threats.
“She approached us with a shovel, a knife and her dog, threatening to kill us and throw her dogs at us to chew us to pieces and then she would bathe in our blood,” Pam claimed. .
The email said Pam’s family were “frightened and concerned for our safety”.
“My daughter doesn’t want to stay with us tonight because of this incident. We shouldn’t have to live in fear in our own home.”
Police had expressed an urgency to act because the woman’s behavior had escalated to the point where she was using weapons and directly threatening to kill, Pam claimed in the email.
She said Kāinga Ora finally took action several weeks ago, moving the woman to temporary accommodation while she sought a permanent solution.
However, she had returned several times as she was still technically a tenant.
Contractors had begun cleaning the unit, which was soiled with dog feces and in need of extensive repairs, Pam said.
She felt that Kāinga Ora had been too slow to act and had failed in his obligations to keep the tenants safe.
A Kāinga Ora spokesperson said the agency was concerned about everyone involved in the “shattering” case and the potential impacts.
“We are doing everything we can as owners. This is not a situation that can be taken at face value, but it is also not appropriate for us to discuss the personal aspects involved.”
Kāinga Ora was working with health and welfare services and the police to find a solution, the spokesperson said.
“Even with a number of agencies working together, it’s taking time, but we’re confident we’ll have a permanent solution in place soon.”
Police said they are aware of the issues at the resort.
A woman in her twenties had been charged with multiple offences.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of neighbors.